Worldwide renewable energy employment reached 12.7 million in 2021, a jump of 700,000 new jobs in one year. But we are still lacking the talent in some areas to fill these roles. If they aren’t filled, it will act as a major barrier to the energy transition.
When you broaden the scope to all clean energy jobs, according to IRENA, these already exceed fossil fuel jobs worldwide and are projected to grow from around 33 million today to almost 55 million in 2030 in the announced pledges scenario. How can we ensure we have enough skilled workers to fill these jobs, but then also attract them to stay and ensure that they constantly up-skill to stay up to date with the constantly changing energy landscape?
According to Charmaine Coutinho, Head of Client Training at LCP Delta, the first major consideration in the energy skills gap is, "this big picture transition from old carbon-heavy energy sector to low carbon and there’s a really obvious skills gap, which is the technical experience. You’re going from these big oil and gas infrastructure projects to solar and wind power effectively and they're very different industries. They’ve got some transferrable skills, but they are big energy assets and there is that technical experience around solar, wind, heat pumps which is missing."
Nadine Buchegger, Talent Acquisition Manager at gridX discusses some of the major challenges around attracting top talent in the energy industry. "A lot of people hesitate to apply because they know there is a relocation process involved which takes 3 or 4 or 5 months and I think, at this point, it is really important for employers and companies to put a message out there to say 'you know what guys, we know there might be a relocation process involved but we are willing to wait for you because we believe in your talent, we need your talent on board' and I think this is how you can compensate for the lack of applications."
Juliane Schuster, Expert for Educational Design at the UnternehmerTUM Academy for Innovators, says that the next generation is very aware of the need to come up with new sustainable solutions and pursue careers in greentech fields like energy. "It's the case of bridging between generations to empower younger generations to bring in their opinions, give them the stage let's say to what they set out to do."
Thomas Heywood, Co-Founder, WeEngage Group discusses how we can encourage more women in tech, particularly energy tech. "It's great to work in a diverse team and it brings way more creativity to the business, it helps us solve challenges," he says. "But I think we need to start looking sooner and attracting more...let's talk about women in tech getting into engineering, from potentially even earlier than high school or even university, that will mean we’re quite a few years away from seeing even more women in engineering, but we need to improve the amount of people, women specifically, going into technology markets from primary school for example."